Hartford, Conn. – Senior OF Oscar Kutch (Houston, Texas) went 3-for-5 with a run, a home run, and two RBI to lead the visiting Tufts University Jumbos to a 10-5 victory over the Trinity College Bantams in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) East Division baseball opener for both teams on a cold and rainy afternoon at Murren Family Field at DiBenedetto Stadium. Trinity senior 3B Nick DiBenedetto (Fort Myers, Fla.) was 3-for-4 and belted the first-ever Bantam home run in the team’s new park, a solo shot in the eighth inning. Trinity falls to 7-7 overall and the No. 15-ranked Jumbos improve to 10-1 with their fourth win in a row.
The Jumbos never trailed, opening up a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning on a wild pitch, a Bantam fielding error, and an RBI single by Sophomore Will Shackelford (Orleans, Mass.). Trinity got one run back in the bottom of the second on a two-out, RBI base hit by senior Tyler Buckley (Mount Kisco, N.Y.). Tufts scored five runs in the fourth and fifth frames, highlighted by a solo homer in the fourth and an RBI single in the fifth by Kutch, while the Bantams added three in the fourth and fifth on RBI groundouts by junior 2B Cooper Mooney (Southbury, Conn.) and sophomore SS Ben Reinisch (Troy, N.Y.) and a double steal with first-year OF Matt Koperniak (Adams, Mass.) scoring from third after a pickoff attempt at first to make the score, 8-4, with four innings left.
Jumbo senior tri-captain starter Speros Varinos (Middleton, Mass.) settle down after that, surrendering just the DiBenedetto bomb over the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, and finished with nine hits, five runs, two earned runs, and two walks allowed with five strikeouts over eight innings of work to improve to 4-0. Tufts tacked on two more insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning on a two-out double down the rightfield line by Casey Santos-Ocampo (Naples, Fla.), and Jumbo junior Ian Kinney (Morristown, N.J.) pitched around the third Jumbo error in the ninth.
Trinity junior LHP McLane Hill (Marlborough, Conn.) was the first of five Bantam hurlers, and dropped to 0-4 with 2-plus innings of work and just one of three runs against him earned. Trinity senior co-captain Chris Speer (Westport, Conn.) was the most effective on the hill, yielding just three hits and fanning two over 2.1 innings. Trinity junior co-captain OF Brendan Pierce (Hingham, Mass.) finished 2-for-3 with two runs and a stolen base, while Shackelford was also 3-for-5 at the plate, while McLaughlin was 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBI for the Jumbos.